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Crime in India Report


A new edition of ‘Crime in India’, the annual report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), was released on August 29, for crime-related statistics in 2021.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Crime in India: Key highlights
  2. Who publishes the NCRB report?
  3. How does the NCRB collect information for its report?
  4. Issues with NCRB data

Crime in India: Key highlights

  • Overall, 2021 saw a 6 per cent decline in the number of crimes registered, as compared to 2020.
  • The crime rate per lakh population declined from 487.8 in 2020 to 445.9 in 2021.
  • However, crime statistics do not always tell the full story, and lower crimes reported in an area do not necessarily mean it is safe.
  • Crimes against women rose 15 per cent in India in 2021 and Delhi is the most unsafe metropolitan city.
  • Rajasthan reported the highest number of rape cases and Maharashtra topped the list when it comes to most suicides.
  • Around 1.73 lakh people died in traffic accidents. Uttar Pradesh saw the highest number of deaths (24,711) in traffic accidents.
  • Jammu and Kashmir registered the most Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) cases under the ‘special and local laws’ in 2021, as per NCRB data.
  • Of the total 814 cases under the UAPA in India, J&K lodged 289 cases last year, followed by Manipur (157), Assam (95), Jharkhand (86) and Uttar Pradesh (83).
  • Jharkhand and Maharashtra filed the highest cases of communal riots last year with 100 and 77 cases respectively.

Who publishes the NCRB report?

  • The NCRB was established in January 1986 with the aim of establishing a body to compile and keep records of data on crime.
  • It functions under the Union Home Ministry.
  • Apart from publishing annual reports, its functions include “Collection, coordination and exchange of information on inter-state and international criminals to the respective states”.
  • NCRB also acts as a “national warehouse” for the fingerprint records of Indian and foreign criminals, and assists in locating interstate criminals through fingerprint search.

How does the NCRB collect information for its report?

  • The NCRB report contains data received from the 36 states and Union Territories across the country.
  • Similar data is furnished for 53 metropolitan cities, or those having a population of more than 10 lakh as per the 2011 census, by respective state-level crime records bureaus.
  • This information is entered by state/UT police at the police station/ district level, and is then validated further at the district level, then the state level, and finally by the NCRB.

Issues with NCRB data

  • By its own admission, the NCRB says there are limitations to its data.
  • Since the publication caters to the ‘Principal Offence Rule’ for classification of crime, the actual count of each crime head may go under-reporting.
  • The Principal Offence Rule states that in a case where multiple offences are registered, only the “most heinous crime”, carrying the most stringent punishment, is considered when counting.
  • For example, ‘Murder with Rape’ is accounted as ‘Murder’, leading to undercounting of the crime of rape.
  • Vacancies or a shortage of police officers at the local level may hinder the collection of data.
  • Also the data record the incidence of registered crime rather than of actual crime.

-Source: Indian Express

March 2024